The Dallas Cowboys finished a horrid 2015 campaign with a loss to the Washington Redskins, but America’s Team will choose 4th-overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Somewhere, presumably in the state of Kansas, former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo is smiling. No longer is he the most recent coach to lead the Cowboys to their worst record in somewhat recent memory.
That title now belongs to one Jason Garrett.
Now that’s what I call ‘The Chosen One.’
There was little to be gained in this regular season finale that saw the Cowboys fall to 4-12, a complete numeric reversal of last season’s out-of-nowhere 12-4 finish, which included an NFC East division title and a playoff victory over the Detroit Lions.
More from Sports Dallas Fort-Worth
- Dallas Cowboys: Projecting the Run vs Pass Split
- Dallas Cowboys: Do we really want more passes to Pollard and Zeke?
- Dallas Mavericks: Are the Mavs pushing Luka Doncic out the door?
- The Dallas Cowboys will go as far as the defense takes them
- Dallas Cowboys: 3 breakout players they may cut a year too early
Frankly, a useless win over tepid 2015 NFC East winner Washington would have only dropped the Cowboys as many as 3-4 spots in the first round in the 2016 NFL Draft beginning April 28 in Chicago.
As it stands, the Cowboys will have the fourth-overall selection after having lost 10 or more games in a season for the first time since 1989. Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News offers an immediately encouraging perspective as to what what might be looming next spring – and it’s not EF5 tornadoes either.
Let’s just say that some truly great players have been chosen by the Cowboys throughout their 55-year history in this neighborhood of the first round.
It’s no secret what the Cowboys needs are. The need for a future franchise quarterback is at or near the top of the list. It’s possible that another edge rusher, defensive tackle or linebacker could end up being the preferred destination – remember that defensive end Greg Hardy isn’t exactly a lock to re-sign with the Cowboys and nobody is really certain how things will pan out for rookie-end Randy Gregory, who just finished his freshman campaign as an undersized lineman with zero sacks in ’15.
But whichever way the Cowboys go, America’s Team is in prime position to land a gem, a likely future Pro Bowl talent – or possibly an eventual Hall of Fame player.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could find himself in position to trade down for an even greater bounty of premium picks in either this year’s draft or future selections. Jones could also trade up for a potential franchise quarterback, a move that might be likely given the recurring injury status of Tony Romo.
It’s important to remember also that the Cowboys will also pick very early in the second round of the draft, a prime location to choose that future quarterback in the event Jones goes in a different direction with that critical first-round selection.
When you factor in last year’s selection of three talents with first-round grades during and just after the draft, you can see that the Cowboys are very well-positioned to leap back up in the NFC East standings next season.
Yes, Dallas is ahead in the game, even if the win-loss total this season don’t seem to reflect that.
In other words, the Cowboys could go ahead and draft the best offensive tackle available to replace an aging Doug Free, thus filling out their offensive line with an army of first-round draft picks from left to right. A quarterback like Carson Wentz of North Dakota State or Jacoby Brissett of North Carolina State could still be acquired in the second round.
Free agency will go down well before the ’16 draft and this will help to narrow down some of the possibilities that the Cowboys might take advantage of.
One thing if for sure, however: The Cowboys now begin one of the most critical and exciting offseasons in recent memory. This team will play four last-place teams during next year’s schedule and also everybody in the lame NFC East some six times.
No, the NFC East doesn’t exactly look like Mount Everest next season, and we just finished this season.
Garrett enters the second season of his still-new five-year renewal signed following last season’s postseason loss against the Green Bay Packers. Following the disastrous record his offense coughed up with backup quarterbacks Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore, all eyes and expectations will be firmly on Garrett like never before in righting a ship that will have access to plenty of young, fresh talent this offseason.